“The Stars in the Night Sky are Laughing in your Voice”

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new collection in our boutique! “The Star Catcher” collection is a set of necklaces, bracelets and key-chains designed and assembled by Canadian artist Funky Frog. Each item is unique and individually assembled from recycled glass, hand-decorated beads and brass from Ghana, where artist Anita Lowe sources all of her material. 

Anita has been travelling to Ghana’s expansive bead markets for 10 years to hand-select and design her vibrant collections. For her metals, she works directly with the metalsmiths of the Kokoform Cooperative in the city of Kumasi. Its artisans use an ancestral technique to create the unique brass silhouettes highlighted in this Star Catcher collection. The “Lost Wax Method” implies fashioning a desired shape out of beeswax, which is then packed in mud. When this mud-mould is heated, the wax melts and is replaced by melted metal, poured into the mould by the artisans. As everything is created by hand, no two Star Catchers are exactly alike!

Anita’s vision for the Star Catcher was to create a collection reminiscent of the night sky; every bead or chunk of glass echoing the planets, stars, and celestial bodies. She’s created this entire collection as a donation Pure Art Foundation’s day care centre in the Hub of Hope, that opened its doors this March. The day care, named Cuidador de la Luz (the Lightkeeper), was constructed in memory of Ben McKinnon. 

As a core member and filmmaker for the foundation, Ben passionately documented the stories and lives of the children living in the Hub of Hope’s periphery, hoping that words and images could raise awareness for the plight of these families.The Star Catcher collection is therefore an extension of this campaign and an extension of the work Ben was dedicated to.

Today we continue in stride with Ben’s passion, to continuously improve the livelihoods of the families of Manantay, Peru. 100% of proceeds from the sales of the Star Catcher collection will directly fund the day care and serve to provide games, materials, food and proper salaries for the centre’s staff. 

Come see which of these unique pieces will resonate with you. 

Available online and in store!

August 23, 2019 by Liam McKinnon

KaIND to Nature

Following layovers in Prague and Instanbul, we’ve (at last!) arrived in humid, stormy Jakarta to visit artisans and touch base with some of our partners in Fair Trade.

This week, we had the pleasure of meeting with KaIND’s visionary Melie Indarto and her creative team. Melie launched her label in 2014 with the vision of celebrating her country’s traditional Batik fashions, revived for a global, contemporary market.

KaIND believes in raising the bar of the fashion and textile industry — currently dominated by fast fashion brands — by promoting local community skillsets in hand-weaving, hand-drawing and all natural dyeing techniques.

Melie conceived of a label that communicates cultural appreciation and advocates for eco- consciousness. Iconic Indonesian symbols like Bromo Mountain, Pasir Berbisik (a vast sand- covered landscape also known as “whispering sand dunes”), chrysanthemums and tuberoses often feature in KaIND’s pieces and inspires their motifs.

To wear KaIND’s batik is to wear a consoling respect for the environment: every shade of colour is naturally derived from plants and bark, and for garments spun frm silk, no silkworms are harmed in the extraction, allowing them to thrive and hatch into moths.

Did you know that the silk we wear actually comes from the protective cocoons that silkworms spin for themselves to prepare for metamorphosis? In KaIND’s workshops, the soft, white exterior of the cocoon is gently hand-removed and turned into silk, while the inner shell carrying the future moth is left intact.

Like Melie and her team, we believe that our fashions should never cost us our planet or the beings we share it with.

When you choose a garment from KaIND, you are choosing colours that directly originate from a host of botanical species: vibrant oranges come from the seeds of Bix Orelanna, a spiky fruit, pinks and reds often come from the bark of Ceriops Tagal, while dark browns can be sourced from Mahogany bark. These seeds and barks are often boiled, for a length of time that depends on the desired colour.

The garments can then be dyed in this variety of earth tones. To obtain white motifs and designs, areas of the garment will have been drawn in hot wax which then cools and prevents the bleeding of colours. In the final steps of productions, when the wax is peeled off, the artists’ work is revealed: boughs of trees, flowers, leaves, and traditional designs.

We’re looking forward to sharing these cultural and eco-conscious garments with you in-store and online soon. 

November 06, 2018 by Liam McKinnon

Wearing Ethical

This past April, the Fashion Revolution Week made ripples across social media platforms, communities and stores, encouraging shoppers to ask themselves and their chosen brands: “Who Made My Clothes?” More and more people every year are making the conscious decision to value the people behind products over the products themselves. As a poster in one shop window read, “Ethical is the New Black.” And this month, a new product to line our shelves is dismantling the belief that ethical has to be a compromise to popular fashion.


Etik & Coproduces sneakers with the beloved Converse look, except that these shoes pack a triple punch: they’re certified Fair Trade, their cotton is organic, and they’re 100% vegan. Etik & Co’s website declares that they have selected production partners “whose values are in line with ours: transparency, social justice, environmental stewardship and support to the community.”

 But the final, most impactful blow that this product throws at the fast fashion industry is this: these shoes cost no more than their non-organic, non-fair trade counterparts. At 89$ a pair, Etik & Co’s shoes defy the long-held belief that only the well-to-do can afford ethical purchases: the traditional Chuck Taylor converse currently runs for 90$. 
From a mutual respect and conviction in each other’s vision, Pure Art and Etik are collaborating to make these shoes even more world-changing than they already are: when purchased via our online or Hudson-based boutique, 15$ will automatically be donated to Pure Art’s brand-new day-care centre in the Pucallpa-based Hub of Hope. 
This past March, Pure Art Foundation’s volunteers not only built two new homes in the impoverished community of Manantay, but also the foundation’s first day care— El Cuidador de La Luz —that will offer its services to the young mothers who are enrolled in our sewing and entrepreneurial workshops. The radiantly-painted day care, that opened this Friday with the enrolment of 17 children, was built in shining memory of Ben McKinnon, the founders’ son.

Ben, beloved by the children in Pucallpa where he documented their living conditions and the foundation’s progress, was known by friends and family for his spot-on taste in fashion. Aside from his camera and his passport, all-black sneakers were a trademark of “the Ben look.” Now, thanks to Etik & Co, the “Ben look” can give back to the world, to the environment, to animals, and to the yellow-walled day care that is currently beaming like a star in the outskirts of Pucallpa, Peru. 
July 04, 2018 by Liam McKinnon

The new Lightkeeper Series available for Mother's Day

 Remember the light you carry in this world, a birthmark from the stars.
It is there in your song, there in your footprint, there in the way you give
to everyone around you. 

This Mother’s Day, we’re launching a special trinity of bracelets called the Lightkeeper series.
Each bracelet’s star is a reminder to recognize and safeguard the light that rests in all of us and, most importantly, to share that light with our world.
A simple and elegant gift for that Lightkeeper in your life, who strengthens your world with their light and their love.

| The Story |

The Lightkeeper is a collection commemorating the life and work of our talented visionary Ben McKinnon, who passed in August. As an artist, Ben created beauty from his own depths, always envisioning a world richer in colour, authenticity, and humanity. Being a core member of Pure Art Foundation, he dedicated much of his talent to raising awareness about the plight of impoverished communities. Now, to honour and to pay-forward the light that he was sharing, the foundation will inaugurate a day-care centre in Ben’s name, in the poverty-stricken community of Manantay, Peru.

| How it Gives Back |

Profits raised through the sale of the Lightkeeper bracelets will fund Ben’s Day-Care centre. Through this centre, mothers attending the foundation’s sustainability-driven sewing courses will be able to leave their children in a safe and enriching environment.
This gift connects your purchase to hard-working mothers, and supports their efforts and dreams for their families.

| About the Product |

The Lightkeeper collection is hand-made by Quebec artist Trink!

The first bracelet, RISE, inspires us to take the crucial first step: to reach out, to step up, to courageously meet the beautiful and daring challenge of life. The more organic of the three, it is made of wooden beads and a sterling silver star.

The second bracelet, IGNITE, encourages us to dive within, and to spark the light that is waiting there. Waiting to be remembered, waiting to be called upon. This bracelet is made of Swarovski crystals, sterling silver beads, and star. 

The third bracelet dares us to
SHINE.  To be and to continue. To give and to light up the lives of others. Made entirely of Swarovski crystal, this bracelet gracefully catches and refracts light.





We hope this collection reminds you of the light you carry in this world, of the light others have given you, and of those who once shone here before us. 

Happy Mother’s Day to moms around the world! Keep shining.

May 07, 2017 by Brigitte McKinnon

The all new "Lightkeeper" Christmas cards are now available !

Moon’s Daughter quickly reached for her star, placing its warmth in the Lightkeeper’s hold. “Please,” she begged, “may my light grow to be yours.”

✵     ✵     ✵   

Just in time for the season’s first snowfall, we couldn’t be more excited to announce the arrival of Pure Art’s annual Christmas card collection!

This year’s card set, entitled “The Lightkeeper”, comes as the fourth instalment in the Moon’s Daughter series. Illustrated by Seb McKinnon, the enchanting images accompany a short story about reigniting hope for each other, and the world.

The collection is available for purchase at the Pure Art Boutique, or online by clicking here. Thanks to generous sponsors involved in the printing of these cards, 100% of proceeds are directed to the foundation’s One School for All initiative. That’s exactly $10/$10 for every pack sold!

Every year, the initiative is able to sponsor the education of over 300 children in the Amazon city of Pucallpa, Peru. Schoolbooks, uniforms, and all required materials are purchased to offer the gift of education to children in need. None of it would be possible without your support, especially at this time of year.

By purchasing a card set, you are personally partaking in a vision to support a child’s right to education a world away. As illustrated in “The Lightkeeper”, we all have the power to be a light for someone, a source of hope and support.

With heartfelt gratitude, we wish you a bright and soulful holiday season.


— The Pure Art Team

November 23, 2016 by Liam McKinnon

Perfect Imperfection: Gifts with conscience

by Kimberly Leung
As published in the Summer / Fall 2016 Fair Trade Magazine 
Canada's Voice for Social Sustainability

GIFT GIVING IS BIG BUSINESS. From new clothing to sweet treats, little trinkets to big-ticket electronics, special occasions are often marked with an exchange of gifts, a practice that's becoming increasingly commercial. According to Statistics Canada, the total value of toys, games, and hobby supplies purchased during the holiday season in 2014 was in excess of $416 million. The figure jumps to over $705 million once other popular gifts are included, like jewellery, watches, cosmetics, and perfume. It's no question that the act of exchanging gifts makes a huge economic impact, but it's also an area with significant potential to create beneficial change. 

While mass-produced items are sold at low prices, there's often a human cost involved with these widely available, conventionally sourced goods, a cost that's not always obvious to the buyer. Hiding behind the price tag could be a product made under deplorable conditions. Ryan Jacobs, CEO of Ten Thousand Villages Canada, puts it in stark terms. “Global trade is largely faceless and nameless. You know that people were involved in making every item you own.

But how often do you think about the circumstances under which these items were made? How often do you think about the opportunities available to makers? These makers deserve to be treated humanely and fairly.”

Maasai artisans craft beaded jewellery outside Moshi, Tanzania.

Purchasing fair trade alternatives can help address this issue. As the oldest fair trade organization in North America and a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Ten Thousand Villages ensures that its products are sourced and made in a way that adheres to fair trade principles. It conducts a bi-annual self-assessment to review its operations in accordance to WFTO guidelines and communicates with artisan groups and other fair trade retailers to gather additional details on local operations.  Jacobs has travelled to Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Colombia to personally connect with some of the people that Ten Thousand Villages works with. He has found talented, ambitious, and intelligent artisans, hampered by the lack of opportunities available to them. Working in over 25 countries, Ten Thousand Villages pays artisans fair prices and, alongside its partners, provides health services, work training, and free meals. This enables artisans to preserve their traditional ways of life while earning a sustainable income.

Amalia, leader of a women's co-op, wears a traditional Shipibo headdress.

Gifts with stories

Fair trade gifts have the advantage of being one of a kind. A far cry from the factory-produced items frequently found on store shelves, handcrafted goods have distinctive and beautiful variations. As Robert McKinnon likes to say, the items are made to “perfect imperfection.” In 2007, McKinnon and his family travelled to Pucallpa, Peru, to visit the two girls the family had sponsored to attend school. What they found was a town without basic healthcare, access to education, and safely constructed homes for many of its people. The experience moved them to action. He and his wife Brigitte started the Pure Art Foundation soon after their eye-opening family trip, with the purpose of undertaking humanitarian projects for this off-the-grid town. But they also understood that self-sufficiency was key to creating lasting change in this community. Finding talented artisans among the indigenous people of Pucallpa, the McKinnons commissioned an order and returned to Canada with beaded and line to include jewellery made by the Maasai people, to support the clinic’s cervical cancer screening program.
A member of the North American Fair Trade Federation (FTF), the Pure Art Boutique has undergone a strict screening process to demonstrate its 100 percent commitment to ethical trade. By partnering with other fair trade channels, the boutique has expanded its that pay marginalized people a fair wage. An increase in demand for fair trade goods could make a serious impact and create a wave of change that might one day set a new, more humane standard for how conventional goods are produced. 
Ethical options exist for many popular gifts. For your next special occasion, whether it's a wedding, birthday, or the holidays, try skipping the trip to the local hand-stitched items to sell at fair trade value. The proceeds from their shop, the Pure Art Boutique, were used to support their foundation's initiatives in Peru, which now include building safe homes, funding school support programs, and providing vocational training. Later on, a chance encounter with a friend with ties to a rural medical clinic in Tanzania alerted them to the challenges of administering care in remote regions. In response, they expanded their product selection to include items made in Tibet, the Philippines, and Brazil, to name a few. Each piece tells a different story, increasing awareness and exposing customers to artisan groups from all over the world.

For this Shipibo artisan, the intricate geometric patterns represent how she sees the creation of the universe.

Gifts that spur change:

Purchasing from stores offering fair trade and socially responsible items diverts money from conventional profit-maximizing businesses to agreements shopping mall. Instead, devote some time to looking for thoughtful presents that are made and procured without exploitation. When you choose a fair trade gift, you are giving something that benefits both the receiver and those who produced the item.

Shipibo artisans from villages along the Ucayali River, Peru, work with Pure Art to create high-quality hand-embroidered textiles.

Kimberly Leung is a social services coordinator and freelance writer based in Toronto. She moonlights as a volunteer for several health and community non-profits.

July 21, 2016 by Kimberly Leung

Close-Up On: Poetic Threads of Pakistan

Creatively facing the hurdles that have befallen them, a community of artisans in Pakistan is an inspiring example of this optimism. When a flood devastated the livelihoods of an estimated 20.4 million people in Pakistan in 2010, a company named Poetic Threads of Pakistan (PTOP) emerged with a vision to overcome adversity through art. 

March 28, 2016 by Liam McKinnon

Getting Cozy for the Holidays

It's oddly warm this Christmas without a dusting of snow on the ground. We've handpicked some of our coziest sweaters, cardigans & scarves to fit the upcoming holiday weekend with friends & family. Enjoy!

December 23, 2015 by Melanie Guilbault

Our Bolivian Sweaters are Back!

Our handmade Bolivian alpaca sweaters have finally arrived at the Boutique. The collection is designed by Yumiko Suzuki and hand knitted by skillful Andean women. These lovely sweaters and cardigans are so soft and cozy and come in a wide range of designs & colors. Come by the Boutique this weekend to try out your favorites!

December 10, 2015 by Melanie Guilbault

Our 2015 Christmas Card Set

It's that time of year again- this season's Christmas card collection, illustrated by Sebastian McKinnon and narrated by Liam McKinnon, is finally ready! Now available online for purchase, the card set, entitled Courage, My Love, will be available at the Boutique as of this Thursday. Have a look at the set of 6 original illustrations below, the third installment in a series of short stories following the Moon's Daughter. Last year's card set, When Starlight Fallswill soon be available as a children's book, both online and the Boutique! And, the very original children's book, The Moon's Daughter is available here

November 23, 2015 by Melanie Guilbault